Know How / Environment

Get the latest news on environmental, wildlife and rewilding issues on farms and farmland. Keep up-to-date on a range of farm environment matters including climate change, Defra’s greening policies and environmental compliance. Get advice on measures to improve your farm’s environmental credentials and sustainable future, such as planting trees, reducing your carbon footprint and reducing waste.

Must reads: Coping with climate change

Practical advice

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How to accurately measure the organic carbon content of soil

How to measure organic carbon in soils and, even more importantly, accurately measure how it changes over time, are major challenges in the potential development of new income streams for…


Biodiversity Net Gain – what is it, how will it work?

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requires the effect on biodiversity of a new development to be quantified, and following development, the overall amount of natural habitat to be enhanced and left…


Business Clinic: What should I consider for reservoir plan?

Whether you have a legal, tax, insurance, management or land issue, Farmers Weekly’s Business Clinic experts can help. Building a reservoir is a challenge in itself. Bringing in 'waste' materials…


Ways to reduce dairy greenhouse gas emissions to hit targets

Dairy farmers can make some easy strides to improve their carbon footprint as pressure mounts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms. The NFU has set a target for farming…


7 ways to flood-proof soils and improve drainage

Arable growers need to follow a seven-point plan to improve their soil structure especially if, as expected, new farm support payments will depend on healthy soils. With many arable areas…


Why surviving oilseed rape crops are worth persevering with

Oilseed rape growers should persevere with their crops this spring and apply early nitrogen fertiliser, to help combat low soil mineral nitrogen levels after the wet winter. Many crops have…

Case studies

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How regenerative farming cut fixed costs by 40% in first year

It is safe to say Nick Padwick isn’t looking for a long transition to farming using regenerative agricultural principles at Ken Hill Farms and Estate, near Snettisham. With an immediate…


Farmers Weekly Awards: Environmental Champion finalists 2020

Farming is more than just a business. Farmers are caretakers of the land and always aim to leave it in a better state than they found it. This year, farmers…


How to promote wildlife and have a profitable arable farm

Farmers are looking at ways to tie environmental practices into commercial operations without affecting their bottom line, as the Basic Payment Scheme is phased out in favour of providing public…


AHDB strategic farm puts regenerative farming into practice

Building a more resilient production system is the main aim of Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife, as the mixed farming business prepares to become the AHDB’s Strategic Cereal Farm in…


Organic arable farm goes carbon negative for Brexit future

Rising soil organic matter levels are soaking up greenhouse gases, giving one Cambridgeshire organic farm a negative carbon balance and preparing it for a no-subsidy Brexit future. Less ploughing and…


Video: Harvest on carbon-neutral OSR grower's farm

Duncan Farrington, an arable farmer in Northamptonshire, who produced the world’s first carbon- and plastic-neutral food product, has now completed harvest of his 36ha of rapeseed where the hybrid variety…


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Analysis: What a ban on solid urea could mean for farming

Government plans to place a ban on the use of solid urea have taken many farmers by surprise, even though the idea has been kicking around for a couple of…


Flood-hit farmer one year on - patching up damage not enough

Poor water management could see a repeat of last autumn’s floods, so what steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of extreme weather on the countryside and farmers' livelihoods?…


How regenerative farming can improve livestock health

Claire Whittle is a veterinary surgeon at LLM Farm Vets. She has been awarded a 2021 Nuffield Farming Scholarship for work on regenerative agriculture in the livestock sector. She explains…


Beef farmers split over ‘carbon tax’ plan for older cattle

Plans to impose a "carbon tax" on farmers who finish prime beef cattle later than 27 months old have split industry opinion.  The proposed £100 per head levy aims to…


How suckler herds can reduce carbon footprint by 40%

Research conducted by the Stabiliser Cattle Company and Alltech E-CO2 has revealed that suckler producers can achieve a near 40% reduction in carbon footprint while saving £350 per cow place…

Latest environment news

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Farmers warned about illegal exports of agri-plastic waste

An increasing amount of agricultural plastic waste, including silage wrap, is heading for illegal export. The Environment Agency (EA) said it has intercepted about 200 tonnes of agricultural plastic waste…


TV star launches tree planting scheme on South Downs farms

A campaign to plant more than 8,000 trees this winter at farms across the South Downs is now under way. TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman, who is best known…


Details emerge of Defra's 'stepping stone' support scheme

More details have emerged of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) – Defra’s stop-gap scheme to support farm incomes until the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme is rolled out in 2024.…


What farmers are thinking about the ELM scheme

The government must regain farmers’ confidence if Defra’s forthcoming flagship environmental scheme is to be a success, a survey suggests. Four out of five farmers say they expect to sign…


Rewild 30,000 football pitches’ worth of countryside - PM

Government plans to combat climate change and restore species include pledges to plant thousands of trees every year and rewild areas “equivalent to more than 30,000 football pitches”. Ten “landscape…


Farmer hit with £7,000 bill for illegal water abstraction

A Cambridgeshire farm business has been ordered to pay nearly £8,000 for illegally abstracting water for its potato crop. Dennis (Haddenham) Limited, based at Willow Farm Hall, Hillrow Causeway, Haddenham,…


Pressure mounts on Defra to help farmers make green switch

Pressure is mounting on Defra to help farmers adjust to the end of direct payments – amid fears that thousands of farming families could be driven out of business.  It…


Farmer must pay £5,000 for polluting watercourse four times

A Carmarthenshire farmer has been ordered to pay more than £5,000 after polluting a river on four separate occasions in just over 10 months. Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts heard how Russell…


Net zero will see 'biggest change' in Scottish farming

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will see the biggest change in Scottish farming since the switch from horses to tractors, says a report. Growers and livestock producers have a vital role…


Blueprint launched for climate-friendly Scottish beef sector

A report commissioned by the Scottish government has recommended a scheme that it says will help the country’s beef sector reduce its climate change impact while increasing efficiency. The report…


CAP reform ring-fences 20% for environmental measures

EU agriculture ministers have agreed to ringfence 20% of direct farm support payments for green measures under CAP reform proposals.   Member states voted through the proposal on a qualified…


Water pollution threatens Powys poultry unit approvals

Planning approvals for new poultry units could be suspended in one Welsh county amid concern over links to rising river nutrient levels. Powys has a high concentration of intensive poultry…


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Video: Harvest on carbon-neutral OSR grower's farm

Duncan Farrington, an arable farmer in Northamptonshire, who produced the world’s first carbon- and plastic-neutral food product, has now completed harvest of his 36ha of rapeseed where the hybrid variety…


Video: Farmer appeals for 'common sense' after crop flooded

Worcestershire grower Michael Lewis' recently drilled crop of spring wheat has been ruined by the floods. After wet weather scuppered his chances of drilling wheat last autumn, Mr Lewis took…


Video: Farmers in race to save in-lamb ewes from floods

A farming family in Herefordshire devastated by heavy flooding have described the race against time to save heavily in-lamb sheep from drowning. When lambing sheds housing 250 ewes began to…


Video: Why farmers are facing recycling headaches

Plastic and tyre waste disposal is a growing problem for agriculture. Environmental regulations require farmers to dispose of waste through reputable waste management services and they need to show proof…